With “Chiromancies,” a series of paintings begun in 2008, Kitenge Banza creates a cartography in which history, memory, and territory are in dialogue. He unveils a semi-fictional universe, where the inscription of “[his] potential, current, or past narrative in space sublimates it in place.”As French sociologist and anthropologist Jean-Didier Urbain reminds us, “place results from the appropriation of a space through a particular plot setting that imposes a model of interpretation and use.” It is precisely because Kitenge Banza has lived, experienced, and dramatized space that he can then inscribe his place within it to rethink the boundaries of that psychic territory through the prism of individual history.
Inspired by chiromancy, a divinatory practice based on the analysis of line patterns, shapes, and sizes of the palm and other hand features, Kitenge Banza reads a future—his own—in the light of his movements. Always starting from the tracing of the three lines of his left hand, revealed by the play of opening and closing his palm, Kitenge Banza deploys his brush in a continuous movement until the ink runs out and reveals a first break. From there, the wanderings of the brush on the canvas and its movements on the territory create convolutions, turns and detours, a rush of networks in which present, past, and future are inextricably linked.
[Extracted with the generous permission of the author from: Diane Gistal, Rethinking through the Prism of Individual History, Relations Diaspora and Painting, 2020, Fondation Phi + Hirmer]
Canadian Congolese aritst Moridja Kitenge Banza was born in Kinshasa in 1980 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He holds degrees from l’Académie des beaux-arts de Kinshasa, from l’École supérieure des beaux-arts de Nantes Métropole and from the Humanities and Social Sciences faculty of l’Université de La Rochelle. In 2010, he was awarded the Léopold Senghor Grand Prize of the Biennale of Contemporary African Art, DAK’ART for his video Hymne à nous and his installation work De 1848 à nos jours. He received the 2020 Sobey Award alongside 25 other finalists in the context of the COVID pandemic. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is currently presenting a solo exhibition by the artist entitled “Et la lumière fut (And there was light)”. His work was previously included in exhibitions at the Musée Dauphinois (Grenoble, France), at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Rosklide, Danemark), at the Arndt Gallery and Ngbk (Berlin, Allemagne), at the Biennale Internationale de Casablanca (Casablanca, Maroc), at the Fondation Attijariwafa bank (Casablanca, Maroc), at the Fondation Blachère (Apt, France), at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montréal, Canada), at the Phi Foundation (Montréal, Canada), the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Montréal, Canada) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Canada). Art works by the artists were acquired by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and multiple corporative art collections including BMO, la Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec, RBC and TD Bank Corporate Art Collection.